REBECCA McQuillan’s perceptive and welcome column ("Home schooling will make education more unequal", The Herald, April 3) raised important questions about the effect of current circumstances on the attainment gap. It is surely reasonable to suggest, as she does, that, deprived of normal state schooling, many of our youngsters will fall even further behind their advantaged peers.

While the Government is rightly concentrating on life and death issues now, should the closure of schools persist beyond the summer, action should be taken to prevent this generation losing the liberating potential of good schooling.

One available option to address the issue would be to reallocate the Pupil Equity Fund. If schools remain shut, its many millions of pounds will be unspent. This could be targeted instead, albeit with some administrative challenge, at supporting the individual needs of youngsters who require extra help to match the attainment levels of their peers. This could mean, for example, being allocated named online tutors to guide their learning, these paid volunteers recruited from recently retired cohorts of teachers or willing and qualified others. Part of the funding would also be required to provide relevant IT hardware to many youngsters who lack it currently, but that again is not insurmountable.

Many important social benefits of schooling will be irreplaceable sadly, but at least some degree of personal, academic, and pastoral support is not – if we were bold enough to consider it.

(Professor) Donald Gillies, Dean of the School of Education & Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland, Glasgow G14.

Leap of imagination

ONE accolade that is missing from the tributes to my old boss, Jimmy Gordon, the Labour peer Lord Gordon of Strathblane, who sadly died last week ("Tributes to ‘quiet man of Scots radio'," The Herald, April 4, and Letters, April 4), is the fact that he was a pole vault champion.

Many years ago, when he told me this, he clocked the look of total incredulity on my face. He insisted: “It's true. When I was at Glasgow University, I joined the pole vault team to impress pretty girls and they also had a good social life.”

The university’s sports day clashed with an intervarsity pole vault event being held in the Midlands. Jimmy was left out of the team

that was travelling to England because, frankly, he wasn’t any good.

It meant that come Glasgow University sports day, he was the only entrant in the pole vaulting event. Despite a somewhat derisory performance he was awarded the winner’s medal.

A surprising man with some surprising talents, who will be greatly missed.

Sheila Duffy, Glasgow G12.

It’s that show again

MALCOLM Allan's nostalgic recall of Tommy Handley and the It's That Man Again show (Letters, April 7) highlighted that several succeeding entertainers, including Morecambe and Wise, Les Dawson and Ken Dodd also hailed from the Liverpool area. Sadly, all now deceased. Locally, Kevin Bridges follows on Glasgow's famed comedians Jack Milroy, Rikki Fulton, Stanley Baxter and Lex McLean. not forgetting the now retired but greatly revered Billy Connelly.

Finally, on the ITMA catchphrase list may I add " 'll 'ave to ask me Dad" and "I go, I come back" which still will resonate with many.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.

Clued up

OVER 50-plus years of enjoyable martial, sorry, martial bliss, divorce has never been mentioned, so I guess that now that we are in a third week of lockdown I may be over-reacting to my good lady’s sudden interest in whodunnits.

Anyway, back to The Beginner’s Guide to Toxicology…

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.